The application time is when the kids make the connection between God’s Word and their own lives. Your job is to connect Bible truth to a child’s life. Application time is for helping children to bridge the gap between Biblical knowledge and heart transformation.
During application time, the small group leader needs to first figure out if their students understood the main point of the lesson. They need to find out what the students heard and what they understand about what they heard. Next, the small group leader needs to help the students to apply truth to their lives. Ultimately, we want our students to respond to the truth taught.
When I was a kid I loved playing at the park! If I could find a friend I loved to play a particular game – trying to balance on the teeter totter. It was hard work to find that sweet spot! But it was worth it when you were balanced up in the air.
There is a sweet spot in Sunday School too. It is when you find the right balance between the Bible lesson and the application.
Start with Scripture. Use every minute you have to teach your class the truth about our great God!
In Larry Fowler’s book, “Rock-Solid Kids,” he spent a chapter talking about the content of our children’s ministries. He said that the content of what we teach needs to be God’s Word. “That’s the foundation for application. The Word of God has to come first. Why do we start there? Because the word themselves are truth. Because they are from God…Start with Scripture. We must not only teach children about the Bible and how to apply the Bible, but we must also as first priority teach them the Bible.”
So, make sure your lessons are based on Scripture. Are you teaching kids the Bible? Kids need a solid foundation of Biblical teaching.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Next, we go to application. When you start with Scripture, you have something to talk about during application. During the lesson, the focus was on God’s Word. The application time is when the kids make the connection between God’s Word and their own lives. Your job is to connect Bible truth to a child’s life. Application time is for helping children to bridge the gap between Biblical knowledge and heart transformation. The goal is change. By the end you want the kids to respond to what they have learned by applying biblical truth to their everyday life.
How can a young person keep his way pure? By living according to Your word. I seek You with all my heart; do not let me stray from Your commands. I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You. Psalm 119:9-11
Here is why balance is so important. If a Sunday School class is just the Bible lesson, there is a chance that it may become a purely intellectual exercise; all about knowledge. If a Sunday School class is just application, then it may become good advice for living but no authority behind the suggestions.During Sunday School, we have the opportunity to dig deep into the Bible and learn about God and ourselves and living life as followers of Jesus.
Tony Kumner (of ministry-to-children.com) recently said, “Thinking about the REAL JESUS in the Gospels this morning and worried that we spend too little time walking with him in the Scriptures. Let’s pray and encourage one another in this essential calling – to know Jesus Christ in truth, rather than forming him to our own imagination.”
In children’s ministry we want to introduce kids to Jesus and help them to grow up in their faith.
So, start with Scripture. The Bible is God’s revelation of Himself. A relationship with Him needs to be rooted in His Word. A relationship is current and active. To keep it that way we keep reading and studying the Word of God.
Strive for the right balance in your classroom of Scripture and application.
When Your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear Your name, LORD God Almighty. Jeremiah 15:16
2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Tips for Making the Bible Central in your Class:
- When preparing your lesson, read through the Bible passage carefully.
- Then, be careful to teach what the Bible says, not what you want it to say.
- Ensure kids are using and reading their Bibles every lesson.
It’s important to know about your kids so that you make the application time as applicable as possible. You don’t want vague responses to biblical truth – you want very specific responses.
Here are some ways you can get to know your kids:
- Make it a point to spend a few minutes talking one-on-one with a child every Sunday.
- Plan some ‘get acquainted’ questions ahead of time and bring one with you every Sunday to ask during class. For example, “What’s your favorite movie?” “What is your favorite way to spend a Saturday?” “Tell me about your family.”
- Play the ‘Hi, my name is…’ game. In this game kids will pull a card out of a bag and finish the sentence written on in. On their turn, the student will pull a card out of the bag and say, “Hi, my name is ____________ and my favorite ………..” It is a quick, fun way to get to know the kids in your group. Don’t forget to play yourself! Find a small gift bag and some index cards. On each index card write “My favorite _______ is…” (“my favorite food is…” “my favorite sport is…” “my favorite candy is…” “my favorite subject at school is…” “my favorite pizza topping is…” “my favorite Bible story is…” “my favorite animal is…” “my favorite vacation spot is…”)
- Encourage your small group to share prayer requests.
- Find out your groups birth dates and send birthday cards.
- Allow time on Sunday morning for conversation. If you are rushed off your feet, you won’t take the time to chat with your kids. Make some breathing room in your schedule and use that time to talk with the kids in your small group.